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​Mental health awareness week 2014

Everyone has feelings of anxiety at some point in their life. However what can begin as normal, everyday anxiety, can develop into something more serious, like a panic, phobia, or obsessional disorder.

This year's theme for mental health awareness week (12-18 May) is anxiety, one of the leading causes of mental ill-health in the world.

Evidence shows that the number of cases of anxiety is growing in the UK, with 8.2 million people diagnosed in 2010. We want to speak out about ways we can all manage anxiety before it seriously harms our wellbeing and our aim is to promote ways to reduce anxiety in everyday life.

Dr Ray Walsh, Lambeth GP and the CCG lead for mental health, said: "1 in 4 people will experience a mental health problem such as anxiety or depression in their lifetime and there are many steps you can take to help you look after your mental health and well-being."

He added: "It is important to get the basics right. By eating well and undertaking regular exercise you could help reduce and manage your levels of anxiety.  You can also ask your GP for advice. There are many local health services and support groups across the borough, so it's vital you ask for help when you need it."

What's more, 1 in 100 of us will have a severe mental health problem, and personal financial stresses resulting from the current economic climate are a major cause of anxiety and depression.

Top 10 ways to look after your mental health

  1. Keep active - regular exercise can boost your self-esteem and help you concentrate, sleep, look and feel better.
  2. Talk about your feelings - just sharing your cares and hopes with someone can be great for your own wellbeing.
  3. Eat well - food can have a long-lasting effect on your mental health. Your brain needs a mix of nutrients to stay healthy and function well.
  4. Drink sensibly - drinking is not a good way to manage difficult feelings and can often make a tough situation worse. Replace that cocktail with a mocktail!
  5. Keep in touch with friends and loved ones - they can offer different views, help keep you active and help to solve practical problems.
  6. Ask for help - don't go it alone! Talk to your GP about what services and support are available in your area or alternatively visit: Mental health services in Lambeth
  7. Take a break - a change of scene or a change of pace is good for your mental health.
  8. Do something you are good at - concentrating on a hobby like gardening or the crossword can help you forget your worries for a while and change your mood.
  9. Accept who you are - recognise and be proud of all that you have achieved. After all, there is only one of you! 
  10. Care for others - helping others can make us feel needed and valued and that boosts our self-esteem.

For more information on mental health services go to NHS Choices at